California Appellate Court Requires Actual Viewing of Confidential Information in Data Breach Case Under the California Medical Information Act

Morrison & Foerster LLP

In a case against Sutter Health involving records from a stolen office computer, the California Court of Appeal recently issued a decision limiting plaintiffs’ ability to state a claim and obtain statutory damages under the California Medical Information Act (CMIA) without a showing that the medical information was actually viewed by an unauthorized person. Sutter Health v. Super. Ct., 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 638 (July 21, 2014). The Court held: “The mere possession of the medical information or records by an unauthorized person was insufficient to establish breach of confidentiality if the unauthorized person has not viewed the information or records.”

Plaintiffs alleged that the medical records of more than 4 million patients were stored on a desktop computer that was stolen after someone broke into an office of Sutter Health. The records on the hard drive were allegedly password-protected but unencrypted. Plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that Sutter Health violated sections 56.10 and 56.101 of the CMIA, which prohibit disclosure of medical information without authorization and direct a health care provider to preserve the confidentiality of medical information. Under the nominal damages provision in section 56.36, plaintiffs sought to represent a class of all patients whose records were stolen and a potential $4 billion award.

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morrison & Foerster LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.